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Tuesday, March 01, 2016 

What rich history does Hunter Zolomon have?

Somebody with a short-ranged research span on Collider wrote gushingly about Geoff Johns' pale ripoff of the original Reverse-Flash, Eobard Thawne, which he first stuffed into his overbaked take on the Flash in 2001, and said:
...Zolomon has a rich history in the comics as part of The Flash’s world, and since we’re all missing The Flash while it’s on hiatus, we decided to make the wait a little easier by providing a walkthrough of who Hunter Zolomon’s Zoom is in the comics, and how he became arguably the greatest villain the Flash has ever known.
Oh, is that so? From what I recall in hindsight, it was one of the most irritating, cliched and blatant reinventions of a Silver Age villain I'd ever read about. And Zolomon as a costumed criminal isn't even that old; it all happened at least 12 years ago, that after he tried, almost laughably, to use the Cosmic Treadmill in the Flash Museum (which the writer of this piece has the gall to call 'the ridiculously named “Cosmic Treadmill,”') to fix his timeline for what he thought would be better, he got bizarre speed powers of his own. To make matters worse, the writer goes on to say:
Aside from the neat twist on super speed, Hunter Zolomon’s Zoom also has a fantastic modus operandi in that he legitimately believes that by destroying Wally West’s life, he’s helping him be a better hero (sound familiar?) Zoom thinks that if he kills all of the Flash’s loved ones that West would understand tragedy, and work that much harder to make sure it never happens again. Creepy.
What's really creepy here is the villain worship lurking behind this scrap pile. If it sounds familiar, that's because Cary Bates already wrote something similar back in 1980, when Thawne, after being discovered as the culprit behind Iris West's technical death, sneeringly told Barry Allen he'd made him a better hero. It's not new at all, and Johns' cynical writing was nothing more than a tedious caricature of what better writers worked on years earlier. The "twist" isn't neat either. And to say Wally West couldn't understand tragedy is insulting. The original Aquagirl, Tula, died during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and as a Teen Titan, Wally's teammates would've been mourning her loss as much as Aqualad. But again, let's remember that fictional characters' understanding of tragedy is only as much as the writer can apply. And to deliver the above with such gush and no objectivity is insulting to the intellect.

And what makes Zolomon the "greatest" villain ever known, but not Thawne? I'm sorry, but what's absent here is whether he's the "best written" villain, which he was certainly not. And about 4 years after his change into a new Prof. Zoom, his status was reversed back to a man who'd all but lost his ability to walk. If the writer really thinks this poorly written piece of cardboard is the "greatest villain", why would he have his state reversed back what it first was?

At the end, the writer says:
We’ll have to see where Hunter Zolomon goes from here on both television and in the comics, but I can’t tell you how I happy I am to see the character get such limelight.
Not me, and villains aren't the ones I'm happy to see get limelight. It's the heroes who should matter far more. This is just another example of how villains have wound up being over-celebrated and that, I tell you, is pretty creepy.

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You haven't met lame Flash villains until you look up Cobalt Blue (thanks, Mark Waid!). Although, the horribad soap opera elements in his origin, it wouldn't be all that out of place in the current live-action DC TV universe.


And the link lists this for the live-action TV part:

"Malcolm Thawne doesn't appear in the Flash, however a character named Eddie Thawne appears instead as the ancestor to Eobard Thawne and is Barry's friendly love-rival for the affections of Iris West. Like Malcolm, Eddie works at the CCPD station where Barry is and is prone to jealously like when he punched Barry in the nose for trying to ask Iris out. It was speculated by fans that Eddie was the long lost brother to Barry and that he was stalking him in the first episode, however that fortunately didn't turn out to be true meaning that Eddie never became Cobalt Blue. Unfortunately, Eddie died in the season 1 finale where he shot himself to prevent Eobard from coming into the world."

Eh, give the producers time. They'll find a way.

I actually like The Flash myself. And Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.

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